And I Thought Literary Magazine October 2018
Featuring Liter ary Works By
Sharena Lee Sati Garrett Pomitcher R. W. Martin
Artwork by Danielle
Poetry. Prose. Non-fiction. Fiction. Writing Tips & Advice. Literary Opportunities & More
editors’ Note The other editor on this magazine has a saying that we will probably butcher: “Leaders read, but writers write the words the leaders read.” In essence, we are leading the leaders. Sometimes we think about that before we put fingers to keyboard or pen to paper. There is always the potential that each author’s words might end up being read by a leader and literally shape the world as they see it in their mind. It’s a heavy responsibility to bear, but it is our privilege to pen our thoughtful words in this magazine for the leaders and the readers. Read on audience, and write on our artists. Wilnona & Jade, The “And I Thought” Ladies
WOMEN IN LITERATURE A Virtual Conference
Table of Contents Finding Folklore by G.W. Pomichter.................................4 UK Indie Lit Fest 2018 by Chris Turnbell..........................5 Blue. River. Apple. by Nancy Nelson................................8 Solomon by Robert W. Martin...........................................9 The Miracle of Mould by Jade Cuttle..............................14 The Art of Splinters by Jade Cuttle..................................14 A Dog Knows Its Mistress by Deborah Alma...................16 A Benediction of the Canonization of R. W. Martin........17 Discovering Your Talents by Abeni “Celeste” Scott.........18 Connected by Cynthia Newell..........................................20 Are There Rules To Writing? by Elaine X........................21 I Am by Sharena Lee Satti................................................24 How Do You Invest In Yourself ? by Kate Hames...........26 The Art of Romance by Brandy M. Miller.......................26 The Power of a Writer by Brandy M. Miller.....................28 Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory by Brandy M. Miller..........32 The Phoenix by Brandy M. Miller....................................33
Image By Christopher Boswell, Licensed from Envato.com
By G.W. Pomichter
Fnding folklore What is folklore? When most think of folklore or folk tales they conjure unto themselves images from Grimm fairy tales or Hans Christian Anderson stories. These certainly do, in fact, constitute the most recognizable of folk stories. But, do modern novels or films meet the standard? Are your stories folklore? When the brothers Grimm traversed Europe they gathered local tales from communities and villages throughout. They compiled these into a collection that has entertained and even frightened generations. These European stories of valiant princes and noble heroines, heroic underdogs and monstrous villains have long been staples of what most consider folklore. But this is not the measure of a folk tale. Almost by definition, folklore is a story or collection of stories unique to the people, or folk, of a specific geographic region. Folklore speaks to the hopes, fears and traditions of an area and helps to form a geographic identity. In this way, the western world and even the United States has it’s own folklore, and these might include many modern stories. In colonial and post colonial America, in the North East stories like Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hallow or Rip Van Winkle or the fictionalization of the life and times of John Chapman, known to posterity as Johnny Apple-
seed, are examples of early American folklore. As settlers moved across the plains of the Western U.S., they created their own folklore based on the harsh untamed lands they settled, and the pioneer attitudes that often accompanied such an exodus. From their observations and their shared experiences western tales of Cowboys, Pecos Bill being one such example, became dime store fodder. Often depicting the Native American culture inaccurately and even vilifying them as well as sometimes glorifying renegade outlaws like Billy the Kid, western stories became some of the most successful folktales in the world. These stories were even sold and told in the “old world” and came to solidify a world image of America and it’s people as fiercely independent. Soon and into the 20th century, America’s West Coast was settled, and like other regions before, they began to shape a geo-specific cultural identity. Among the many genres that have come from this region, one of the most prominent is the detective mystery noir. In Chandler stories or others, the American West Coast is as prominent a character as the protagonist or the antagonist. Hard-boiled private eyes, defiant of traditional law enforcement, the iconic femme fatale and the stark city-after-dark descriptions unique to this region rapidly skyrocketed the genre. Since the inception of these staples of the Amer4
ican story, they have pushed and stretched the boundaries of folklore beyond the fantastical and into the almost surreal. A new phenomenon in folk tales has emerged in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The geo-specific nature of folklore has been challenged. The emergence of cinema and the worldwide web has helped shape a new kind of collective community. This time, instead of geographic commonality, members of this community tend to be distinguished by age, experiences or other social standards. In this way, subcultures have formed making stories of nearly all genres folksy by virtue of their distribution or popularity among a specific global social segment. With all of the story components of traditional folklore, heavy drama, unlikely heroic characters, damsels or innocence in distress and the rise of underdogs to defeat sometime terrifying and melodramatic villains, as well as their proliferation of society’s pop-culture, it is arguable that the Harry Potter stories or Star Wars could be considered a kind of non-geo-specific generational folklore. With this understanding of classic and modern folklore, do your favorite stories qualify as folklore? Do you write folklore? Don’t we all?
UK Indie Lit Fest 2018 by Chris Turnbull (Author & Lit Fest Director) On Saturday 28th July 2018 the UK Indie Lit Fest welcomed published authors from across the United Kingdom, and for the first time the USA. An event that brings together published authors, poets, publishing houses and readers. The third annual literary festival, hosted at the Kala Sangam arts centre in Bradford, welcomed over thirty authors who took over the main the venue hall. With all genres covered readers were in for a real treat, and the atmosphere in the hall throughout the day was charged. Aside from the main author hall we had the other elements of the day, a full program of literary related talks, readings, panels and performances. We were honoured to have Ingram Spark attending the event as official sponsors, and authors and writers and any stage of their writing career had the opportunity to attend their workshop and talk face to face at their table. Readings were given from authors such as Maria Gibbs (A Boy From The Street), Joshua Sutton (Cameraman). Workshops were presented by authors and publish-
ing houses throughout the day, such as Ingram Spark (Publishing your books independently), and author KS Marsden (Branching into audiobooks).
(Anna Dressed in Blood). The UK Indie Lit Fest 2018 was the third consecutive year of the event, and has grown each year with different elements added each year. A free event for the public to attend, and with something for all the family to enjoy, the UK Indie Lit Fest really is a great day out. And at the end of a busy day what better way to relax than a pint of the official event beer - a cool blonde ale brewed locally and served in a bar within walking distance of the event on tap. This was another new element to the event for 2018 and has proved popular with all who sampled. The UK Indie Lit Fest directors, Dawn Singh, Chris Turnbull, Joe Kipling and Su Sâ€™ari would like to say thank you to everyone who attended the 2018 event and for all the support given by authors, publishing houses and the general public who all contributed to make the event a success. The UK Indie Lit Fest will return to Kala Sangam in summer 2019, and applications for anybody wishing to be a part of the event can do so by visiting the website www. ukindielitfest.com
There was also a hugely popular poets corner session of the day, which saw standing room only. Performances included And I Thought Ladies, Bernie The Bolt & Sharena Lee Shatti, to name just a few. An author panel took place in the afternoon and saw author Chris Turnbull (The Vintage Coat) question fellow authors DM Singh (Dead Normal?) and Joe Kipling (Blinded by the Light) on topics surrounding character development; this session had great interaction with the audience. A new element to the 2018 event was a specially choreographed dance performance by the Tombe Independent Dance Company, who put together a special performance just for the UK Indie Lit Fest. Based on The Mortal Instruments book series, this performance was a huge hit with the crowd. The final element of the day was the International hub, which saw three authors talk to an audience via Skype. This included Australian author DL Gallie, Irish author CJ Rutherford and American author Kendare Blake
Artwork by Brandy M. Miller
A dab of foundation, a blush of pink.
Blue. River. Apple.
Dressed in clothes, jewelry, and resolve
Daily, though, I have to make sense of where I
On the sliding scale of … Blue. River. Apple.
Splash on a smile,
I want to be Positive.
Be who I want to be,
I am Productive.
Not afraid of who I am becoming.
I am Loving and Beloved.
To awake at night, fearful of forgetting
I am Grateful, Creative, Alive.
Important and precious things like …
People. Dates. Times. Appointments.
I am blessed with a voice to tell my inner story.
I am not in control. Please help me, God.
Blue. River. Apple.
Thoughts jumble, words disappear. Times mix up, promises go astray. When I hear, “Where are you?” “Are you coming?” Eyes water, stomach churns, humbled in disbelief. I know I have done it again! Do I stay home, cancel, quit?
Or fight for rite of passage through the fog?
By Robert W. Martin
Silently, I say, I am not what I appear.
At six months the boy woke screaming. His parents ran to his crib and were met with clear, audible words. “am…am…I?” He was a healthy child, but sullen and serious looking. At two, his puzzling first words had been forgotten and rarely had he made much of any noise since, so the boy’s parents became concerned with their silent son and started consulting pediatric texts for warning signs of certain learning disabilities. They phoned a specialist. “No physical red flags. Chart looks good. Any trouble at home?” They said no and returned to routine. At three years the boy woke screaming again. “Something of the Void came to me and told me that Him without Form has possessed me with Totality.” They held their son as he spoke through the
I am sorry for what you see. Breathe in courage, Splash on a smile, Struggle to remember … I must find pieces of myself and revel in who I know I am. Chin up, treading lightly in new uncharted waters. At times, I catch sideways glances, back and forth. Perhaps, even, your voice impatient. I understand. But, wait, we stand together, separate. Can you hear me? I have so much to tell you. I try to mask the imperfections. 8
night of warehouses being filled with obscure histories and sciences in no set order or logical progression, of streams and pools of data leaking into the spaces between the void so that lack of void encompassed all that was and was not void. Throughout the many hours of this litany, they wept. Shaken, they brought him to all manner of medical and therapeutic professionals to decipher their son’s unusual incident. But nothing unusual could be found. Physically healthy, if on the small side. Motor skills perfect. “Just a quiet little boy. Any trouble at home?” A year of appointments and examinations went by before they stopped trying. The boy had barely spoken a word since the strange incident. He would refuse certain foods and inform them when he was sick and how long it would last, but mainly, he kept to himself and stared blankly at the walls. They let it lie, attempting to find comfort in routine. On the boys fifth birthday they told their son that school would be starting after summers-end. The boy responded with a rapid outburst of names and titles foreign to his parents. “Jesuit. Lama. Imam. Bomoh. Seid. Volkhvy. Wiccan Cleric. Archaeo-physicist. Ecstatic Kabbalist. Historian of Admonitors through the 14th and--” “Son, son! What are you speaking of ?” He looked at them with an expression they had not seen on him before: pity. “Those…um, people,” the mother struggled. “You’re saying you want to talk to them?” The nod he gave them was slight to the point of non-existence. The mother told the County that she would home-school. With the help of a family friend the father was able to set up an informal meeting with a professor of rabbinic history at the local university. “Pleased to meet you both,” the professor said, shaking the father’s hand while giving the mother a slight bow. He looked at the stone faced boy over-enthusiastically, “and this serious fellow must be the future theologian with much on his mind.” He waved them into his office with a smile. The parents held back when their son shook his head and motioned toward some chairs down a short corridor. “Ah, I see!” the professor chuckled. “Do let us scholars retire to solve the problems of the world sir and madam, it should only take a scant moment.”
He winked at them as they went to sit. It took more than a moment. A few students went by to peer into the professor’s office, but walked away with a disappointed shrug. Soon shouting could be heard through the office door. The father started up from his seat but reeled back when he realized from whom the shouting came. It was not the professor. His wife went to his arm and they crept to the near wall of the office so they could hear what their son was saying. The shouting lasted close to an hour and made little sense to either of them. They heard the professor mumble something incoherent before opening the door, jumping nervously at the sight of them. “Oh, yes, you. Please excuse me.” He tried to walk away but the father rushed up and grabbed his shoulder, demanding answers about the shouting. Curtly, he told him of some poorly dated Babylonian scrolls that agitated his son and wondered if they would mind never contacting him again. So they gathered up their expressionless son and went home in familiar silence. The same happened with minute variation for every religious personage that agreed to meet with their boy. Much as they tried to listen to these shouted debates with holy men, it was all too elusive. He would scream about biographical discrepancies on the maternal side of the tribe of Benjamin, falsified census data concerning the outskirts of Rome’s agrarian population, the projected amount of cave dust ingested by Sufi Mystics post-crusade era, and dozens more subjects so baffling they had no category to place them in. After a year of these religiously charged meetings, the boy was six and had lost interest. It made little difference as word had spread among the various intellectual and historical groups in the area to stay away from this challenging child. The parents gave up looking for people that would talk to their son and the boy did little more than sit in his room for hours on end. Before long the boy began to put things from his room out in the hall. His parents boxed and sorted most of the toys and clothes but began to throw it all away once dresser drawers started appearing. Soon his room was completely empty save for a mattress and the shell of a dresser. He stayed there, lights off, sitting in the corner for many days before his parents stopped trying to convince him to come out. With a sense of morbid resolve, they returned to routine. They rarely talked about their son anymore. It 10
petrified them to confront such an anomaly of a child. With great pains they attempted to make no more of it. The mother slid him food twice a day and would find the plates with the mostly untouched meals by his door in the mornings. Pretending he was a picky pet or an uncouth lodger kept her from imagining his emotionless face. The father went to work and kept his social life in relatively stable order, finding enough distractions to keep his mind from hearing his son’s disturbingly educated words. Days and weeks streamed by with a blissfully ignorant normalcy. But nights were filled with unrest. Laughter came from the boy’s room every night, filling them with dread. A few months after their son turned eight, he beckoned to them from the hall. They heard water running in the bathroom, so they came from their room to meet him there. Upon entering both gasped and turned away. This son of theirs, this boy of eight years, had the wrinkled face of an ancient; hair white and visibly torn. He was completely naked, revealing skin that seemed haphazardly pasted on to a disintegrating skeleton. Neither ran to him for comfort or promises of medical miracles. They just stood in the doorway and stared in horror, but not disbelief. The sink cabinet was open and rummaged through, bottles of cleaner and medicine lined the floor by the slowly filling tub where their son sat, legs crossed, on the outer edge. When his mother noticed and pointed at a small cup in his hand filled with a clear, potent smelling liquid he began to speak. It was an eerie, heavy, monotonous whisper. “Antithesis, I am. Formless? No. It was He who is without Form yet created all forms in His image that has formed me as Antithesis. A challenge to His omniscience? Both. If clarity and knowledge were only so close as to swallow each other. Yet a Void-Keeper, a ‘messenger,’ told me long ago that, ‘all things inherent can be said to be total.’ Said to be total. But I had come to discover that omniscience was a trick, a distraction, a clever sleight of hand to render me paralyzed by Totality. “The soul? Incorporeal, Immortal, meta-mortal, trans-mortal, transcendent, metempsychosial, psycho-compository. No. Only lines. Line segments made from decisions that form the irregular shape of a life filled with actions and consequences. “Separating from the bulk of knowledge to dis-
till the known into the one hidden unknown illuminated that I was blessed not with Totality, but cursed with a second soul. Trans-rhythmic with the smell of false memory behind it. “My quest was always the Line; its make-up, its forcefulness, its serpent-like nature. What was this other soul? When would He activate its reality into the temporal world? Many was the hour I stumbled, tempted to stop searching the Totality of myself, which is All. I ripped into omniscience, gutting un-needed tomes and bibliographs, burning beautiful works of art and music that I never would hope to see or hear…but that I perfectly knew. The great theorems and debates of mathematics were precious to me, so I created an elaborate string of un-compartmentalized numbers that combined the worlds of calculi and geometric algebras as sign posts to guide me through Totalities labyrinthine anti-void.” “Was I just organizing a junk drawer? Yes. A foolish a metaphor for a soul cursed with Totality. And yet imagine hurling the contents of that drawer and digging into each grain of wood, each impossible millimeter, in order to find the tiniest fleck of jewel dust. Void versus anti-void. Hiding within the ether of the unnamed fourth fate. What could have never been. Anti-predestiny. Antithesis, to I Am. A separate universe to omniscience. Hiding in the unsolvable puzzle of the subjective conscious.” “There was my Line. My second soul. My precious Void. My imposter.” “He without Form set the imposter in motion so its power, my power, would become whole and undeniable. Wanting and urging it to become its own I Am before I, I of the chaff soul, would notice the intruder. Forcing Antithesis into being is hardly the problem. To fill a void is simple. Memory is as transmigratory as an ancient folk song with no author, the hearing is enough. If I am visited by another of his Void-Keepers, His ‘messengers,’ He who is without Form will have the challenger to his omnipotence, neatly arrange to ascend the ranks of an easily swayed world only to be dashed against the rocks of the second coming.” “Him without Form gives form. Creates form from nothing. I rooted out the nothing, rooted out the straight Line of a double soul. Found my unfilled Void, nearly ready to be impregnated with the imposter. But Omnipotence is bound by its own rule, its own unnerving logic. It cannot circumvent free-will. It can only expect weakness and compliance…I am not weak. I will not take the fall for the rise of His kingdom come again. I reject Totality. I reject the Void. I reject my soul…my Line.” 11
Throughout his speech his parents tried interrupting him with questions about “He without Form,” the soul as a line, what is “the Void” and the “imposter” inside of him. As they finally took in the meaning of the bathtub and the noxious mixture of cleaners in the cup, they asked if there was in fact any other way. He ignored them. He took a long, heavy breath before drinking from the small cup; finishing it with tiny, painful sips. Neither tried to stop him, nor protested when he motioned for them to lower him into
the overflowing bathtub. So they bore up their wizened and skeletal son, light as if newborn, and gently lowered him into the water. Stepping away and staring at the now serene face, submerged in water, without life; they felt the world sigh as the rarified air of a great prophet was exhaled into nothingness.
What Will Be Said Next Year?
By Jade Cuttle You might think I’m more mould than mind, tampering with the gravitational pull between spinach and scale in the grocery store; a flat-packed scam folded into waste-paper skin. But swallowing so many honey-glazed lies I’ve simply learnt to nurse the glint of sun into gold; spin miracles from mangled bits of bread, minced excuses and morsels; conjure dreams from dust. The world spits me out like I’m sour; like the pollen is poison in the flower that sprouts from the wasteland of my heart. But I’m just hungry, that’s all, tinning my hope in brine so it won’t turn stale. Published in the End Hunger UK anthology August 2018, “Poems to end UK hunger: Young writers speak out.” http://ypn.poetrysociety.org.uk/workshop/ end-hunger-uk-poetry-challenge/
The Art of Splinters Bach, St John Passion at Royal Albert Hall The stage is a show of splinters, shadows split and splay at the violin’s bow, stabbing in swords and swoops, the heart begins to bleed at its blow. Simon Peter struck the High Priest’s servant with a sword, cutting off his right ear. The ear crawls into its shell, sheltered from the spit and spray of the storm, thundering in tenor and tone, the heart is tossed by these tides then torn. Spat upon, scourged and streaked with blood, His back resembles heavenly skies. The sunlight snags on a branch, sky is stripped to the spine and ripped in rage, beating in blades and blasts, the heart bursts the
By Jade Cuttle banks of its cage. From the thorns that pierce Him bloom sweet fruit and heavenly flowers. The flower rips out its roots, spitting its seeds leaves flit and flail in fright, flinging in fists and furls, the heart bursts into bloom at its bite. He bowed his head and died, pinned at the palm by the sharp kiss of splinters. Placed 1st in the BBC Proms Poetry Competition
The Dog Knows Its Mistress
A Benediction of the Canonization of R.W. Martin
Published by Nine Arches Press
Eleven years of faint howls, flashes of love remembered, faint ghosts haunting hallways speckled with cobwebs. Their existence screams to be removed by a hand, gentle or brusque, and here I stand amongst the choking dust, surrounded by creaking corridors, abandoned to phallic embrace, alone.
By Deborah Alma | Poem Collection “Dirty Laundry”
Lie across my feet blue-black dog, warm them. Bring me coffee in a small cup and allow me these moments of complaint where there is no need for complaint, let my white shoulders sag a little scratch my back where the bra strap is too tight and release the clasp let my breasts sag and sigh out with a wonder of release I shall stroke your ears in return and for what we are about to repeat may you be truly thankful.
One night’s what’s offered, and in these parched lands, mirages are as welcome as actual relief. Be it beauty in the mind’s eye or in that of the beholder, something concrete, bolted to life, inside its consequences. “Here I am, in my exposed state! Me and my exposure, in all its truth-bearing, its hope and its con-
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tradictory disappointment over the horizon!” I shout for him to hear, for me to hear, for the hallways to hear, for the echoes to warn apparitions and neglected side effects alike. The touch, this touch, this mist of cleansing potential slowly penetrates the ideals of chosen aloneness to find writhing ecstasy on the other side. Specters of the past can be heard running for cover, can be seen cowering in corners until the earthquake passes. They are the ones in fear, they are the ones that cry and howl in agony as joy becomes their exorcising, the antidote to the host body that shall be regaled as her favorite anecdote in future hen conversations.
Chanting above the memories that silently broke her brain, that creaked within the creases, covered in dust, grime, guilt, humiliation, and dirty accusations by the residue of pain, smoothed away by micromotions until the mind gleams anew. What once was a haven for the howling hauntings shines bright and unspoiled. A canal of cleanliness, begotten by the act of sin, wiped clean with the feverish ferocity of lover’s lust. The apparitions of unwanted advances, stuffed into a back room; the solicitation of one’s sexual soul, scrubbed away by soft words; the spirits of sinners’ forced desires, polished with the elbow grease of an amor determined to make her shine like a beacon again.
Discovering Your Talent
By Abeni “Celeste” Scott casual statement made from my mother became my mindset until my mid-30s. Talent Hidden At a very early age, around 5 years old I could discern people and their feelings. I knew when they were sad or having a bad day. I had this burning
Talent Defined Early Growing up, my thoughts on Talents was that it was if you can sing, dance, draw, act, play an instrument, or if you can make people laugh. If we were watching people of this caliber on TV, my mom would say “wow they are so talented.” That 18
desire in me to make them happy and feel better, and I would do just that. In my teenage years, it bothered me so much when I’d pass someone whose Spirit seemed so dark and I couldn’t do anything about it. Fast forward to my Military career. I was always that person sought by my leaders and subordinates, and in my personal life by my family and friends, when they needed a sprinkle of light. In fact, in a women’s group, I once was referred to as Sister Light. During that same season being known as Sister Light, a Soldier prophesied that I would make a good professional counselor and one day I would be just that. Of course, I thought she was delusional and didn’t know what she was talking about and so I went on with life as usual. I never gave it much thought afterwards. The Talent Word AGAIN Upon meeting Janet, my Partner and best friend, many years later I was reminded of my early definition of “talent.” She is very talented. She’s funny, can play one instrument well, she can sing (when she’s being serious), draw and she’s athletic. The first time we had the “talent conversation,” I shared how I didn’t have any talents. She was shocked and appalled that I spoke such words. She revealed that I’m a magnet and that this was my, unbeknownst to me at the time, talent. She told me I have the “gift of gab.” I know how to work a room. People gravitate towards me and so on. Janet’s words took me back to the Soldier who said I’d make a good professional counselor. The Soldier also backed her evidence up with how other Soldiers trusted me and how I always helped them out of situations, gave them hope, and offered wisdom to so many. I never looked at it as a talent because it came so natural to me. And now my Aha moment. That’s it! Love and passion for something allows you to do it or give it so naturally. I challenge you if you don’t know what it is you’re good at, ask someone else, “What am I good at?” We sell ourselves short when we ask ourselves. Owning My Talent
So, when it was time to decide on a master’s degree. God said so clearly, “Professional Counseling”, which I completed just 9 months after retiring from the military. I’m so happy to transform lives. I’ve embraced my talent and use it to empower women, transform lives, and speak to a tribe of people in a Facebook group with my good friend Ilva. Own your talents, stop talking yourself out of it. In life, one of your purposes is to help others. Serving is a privilege, never miss an opportunity to give back. Your talent wasn’t given to you to keep for yourself.
Her fruit are sweet and pleasant to eat and freely shared with all humanity. A tree of fortitude, her roots tell her story she is a giver by nature with no reservation for glory. We’re connected to this tree and feast on her fruit of ardency. Safe and secure, never to be devoured her connection to the Source keeps her empowered. To enjoy more poetry by Cynthia Sherrell visit her website https://cynthiasherrell.weebly. com/ Connect with her on Facebook @authorcynthiasherrell
By Cynthia Newell A tree of life that keeps on giving, survivor of the storm that keeps on living. Connected to the Source she is able to stand strong without a trace of remorse her love continues on. Defiled by the wind, stripped naked and bare neither helpless nor hopeless while attacked by despair. She receives strength to remain although weakend by the force vigor helped her to maintain as she is connected to the Source. A tree of soul, her essence has no expiration yesteryear’s bruises recall her tribulation. Renewed by the sun, she regains determination unwavering and focused, she contines her course due to her constant connection to the Source. Because she is connected many are drawn to her appeal and beauty her benevolent words are melodic and soothing.
art work by brandy m. miller
Are There Rules To Writing? With the rise of the Kindle ereader, came the opportunity for any author to put their work into the public domain without the need for an agent or publisher. Out of the blue, the gatekeepers – agents and publishers – were no longer controlling what books the general public were allowed to access, which meant that anyone with a passion to see their work available to all, could do that. The trouble with that, is that anyone, and I mean anyone, could publish a book. Anyone with access to a computer, can set up a KDP account, fill twenty pages with text, take a photo for a cover, upload the file, and within 48 hours, people can buy your “book”. Great for authors who have tried and failed to get a publishing deal, great for the general public as they now have more choice … but more choice of what? There are an abundance of books now available on ereader that don’t exactly come up to scratch. In them you will find such anomalies as spelling mistakes, plot holes, flat characters, plots that don’t make sense, sentences that don’t make sense, the wrong character names used, copies of other books, and stories that can’t decide if they are in the past or present tense, covers that look like they’ve been drawn by children, or covers that look like a photoshop nightmare. So why don’t people follow the rules? The simple answer to that, is this: There are no rules for fiction writing. Not one. OK, that’s not strictly true, so let’s divide this into two parts. Spelling and Grammar, and Writing Fiction. Spelling and grammar are very important and to a certain extent, the rules of spelling, grammar, and punctuation should be followed. Where the English language is concerned, there are 31 rules of spelling. Those 31 rules, do not include the 9 extra parts to rule 12 concerning the silent ‘final E’, you know, the E which turns cut to cute, bar to bare, star to stare, wad to wade … It also doesn’t include the three extra parts to rule 31 concerning ‘Schwa rules’ stressed syllables, and unstressed words. For Grammar, there are approximately 17 basic rules, and these centre on using the correct punctuation, using apostrophes where appropriate – knowing the difference between possessive and plural ones. Double negatives, capital letters, repetition, prepositions, conjunctions and so on.
By Elaine X.
But for both the aforementioned, and as with anything which evolves over time, there are exceptions to the rules. Take spelling rule number 16 which says “in English, the letter ‘i’ cannot appear twice, next to each other in the same word.” Which means that the word ‘skiing’ can’t be an English word. And in the grammar section, we have a rule which states, “For every sentence there should be one noun and one verb. A sentence with more than one noun or verb is confusing to understand.” So if I’ve understood that right, the following sentence, is grammatically incorrect: My mother looked at my grandmother with fear in her eyes when I hit them both with my car. There are reasons, good reasons why we have spelling rules and grammar rules, they are what makes our language understandable, it’s the difference between “going for a wee,” and “getting a wee.” It helps us understand the differences between words that sound alike, like t.h.r.o.u.g.h – going through a door, and t.h.r.e.w, she threw the ball. And it’s learning these rules from an early age that allows us to understand the context and therefore the correct pronunciation of words spelled the same but with different meanings, as in, “her tears fall freely as she tears the letter to shreds,” or, “I think I’ll read this book, even though I read it last year.” But where does that leave us in terms of the rules of fiction writing? Well, as I said earlier, there aren’t any. Google ‘Rules Of Fictional Writing’. Yep, pages and pages of the stuff, but every set of rules is different, depending on who wrote them, and that’s because every author has their own set of rules to write by. Let’s take a look at the eight rules of fiction writing as set down by a 2013 edition of The New Yorker. 1. Show, don’t tell More on this later. 2. Create three dimensional characters OK, I agree, until the author of the list then adds, “Say you’re writing about a hard-charging banker who’s having an extramarital affair. This is a good start, but to avoid turning him into a cliché, you need to fill him out in three dimensions. In every paragraph, tell the reader exactly how high, wide, and long he is. For instance: “Benjamin Waller, a hard-charging banker who stood six feet one, with a size21
thirty-two waist and a chest girth of forty inches, was having an extramarital affair.” Also mention that he drives a flashy sports car.” That has to be the biggest cliché since the explanation for paranormal happenings being, “it was built on an old Indian burial ground, don’t you know …” 3. Choose a point of view Why just one? 4. Give your characters motivation This is pretty obvious. Without motivation, there would be no story … 5. Write what you know Really? We are still banging that old chestnut out? No-one wants to read about a 44 year old who does the same thing day in day out while trying to magically produce a best seller. 6. No tears for the writer, no tears for the reader I agree with this, but only if your book includes a scene that is (or scenes that are) meant to make the reader emotional. 7. Revise, revise, revise Another one I agree with, but know when to stop. 8. Trust yourself Yeeees, but that doesn’t mean you know better than everyone else. Listen to your editors and beta readers.You might not agree with anything they say, and you don’t have to change anything they suggest, but what they do say might just be beneficial to your work. More On Show, Don’t Tell So what was the extra bit I wanted to say about show, don’t tell … This is a rule which has bugged authors for years – along with the “write what you know,” nonsense. But what exactly does “show, don’t tell” mean? Anton Chekhov once advised, ‘Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass,’ F. Scott Fitzgerald could have written that Jay Gatsby’s parties in ‘The Great Gatsby’ were ornate, opulent, decadent, etc. His parties are all these things, but this wouldn’t give the reader any real idea as these words, despite being telling words, actually tell very little. They don’t show us anything. Instead, we are thrown straight into a party of Gatsby’s because narrator Nick Carraway paints precise details that create immediacy: In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and
the champagne and the stars. ... The last swimmers have come in from the beach now and are dressing up-stairs; the cars from New York are parked five deep in the drive ... floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside ... the lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher. A few of my own examples would be, this one as part of dialogue: “You really don’t,” I say, shaking my head. “I do. I know you like English muffins with bacon,” he begins and pushes my hair from my face, tucking it behind my ear and letting his fingers linger for a moment to caress my earlobe. “I know you use Cherry Coke lip balm, I get a taste every time I kiss you,” he adds with a smile. His voice is softer as he moves his fingers to my bottom lip while telling me, “I know about your hopes and dreams, I know how smart you really are.” He gently taps the side of my head then returns his hand to mine, kissing my knuckles as he finishes with, “and I know my apartment always feels better when you’re there, I know we can make this work.” This as part of a character’s thought: Charlie stops at the paddock gate and I sit for a minute looking out over the fields as they stretch towards the edge of the stable land. The light breeze ruffles the loose sleeves of my gypsy top and causes the grass to ripple in different directions as it blows from east to west, then west to east, carrying with it the scent of the summer flowers. First person present, sexual and emotional. He clamps his mouth over mine and kisses me in a way that leaves my lips tingling and my body on fire. Our tongues meet somewhere in the middle while he squeezes my fingers and his hips pin me to the table, feeding my ardent hunger and pushing my body to the limit in the darkened, dusty dining room with just a piercing shaft of moonlight shining through the window and reflecting in the disturbed dust, making it look like there are a million tiny diamonds floating in the air around us. Third person omni: The sound of rushing water roared around Greg’s head. It was so loud that an image of Niagara Falls entered into his dream, along with an intense beam of light as the sun rose above the water. The image blurred as Greg opened his eyes and then closed them again. The October light that shone through the window blinded him and reminded him where he was. He let out a low, pain filled moan at his thumping head and cov23
ered his eyes. His mouth felt like a slow fire had been burning in it all night and his first attempt to swallow left his throat raw. Third person thought, slowing it down: The late October sun descended beyond the horizon as the earth turned on its axis. Gabriel stood in silence at the balcony doors of their bedroom, watching and pondering how small the world was. As the light faded, he relaxed his eyes and flattened his palm to his chest, raising and lowering his middle finger in time to the steady beat of his heart. The main thing I’ve learned about show, don’t tell, is that readers want a mix of both. They don’t want huge descriptive passages like four pages to explain how someone opened a car door, but what they do want, is an emotional attachment to the characters and their story, and that’s where the show bit comes in. Readers want to be shown emotion, they want to be shown drama, action, conflict, and major plot developments. What they want to be told, is the passage of time where nothing happens, info dumps that we authors need to get in, but without being so long that it takes the reader away from the story. And anything else which has the potential to destroy that emotional link which keeps the reader, reading. Rules or Guidelines? In conclusion, I don’t think there are any rules. Only guidelines, and as I mentioned before, every author’s “rules” will be different to everyone else’s. But whose do you follow? Your own! Make your own rules, make your own decisions. But if you really don’t know where to start, then search the internet for rules of writing, and pick out the ones that you want to be guided by. My Guidelines? Here are a few of mine: … take breaks. Whether it’s biking to the sea front, baking a cake, walking the dog, driving to the swimming pool or just sitting comatose in front of the TV, take a break from your book. Give
By Sharena Lee Satti I am the rescued, the eeri silence left, the awkward pause, I am the visible light I am the question mark, the lost but not the missing, I am the girl with the stage fright I am the living, the breathing, the let’s get all excited, daffodils are appearing, kind of girl I am a mixture of seasons, raindrops falling, over sunny rainbows, as warm winds swirl I am the darkness that penetrates deeper beyond the layers of skin that conceal my soul The fog the blur the crazy mess the madness, the loss beyond my control I am the fragile, not the weak, the overthinking, the over eating the self-body hate I am the anti-social, the trying communicator, who would prefer to hibernate I am the clear skies on a sunny day for everybody else except me I am the passing storm, the wild the wonderful the free I am the dandelion growing amidst the weeds I am the salt in the sea I am the little voice calling, the lioness roaring I am me I am not the first word that enters your thoughts I am more More than the words I harvest, more than the words I speak up for I am the wind dancing amidst the rain droplets that forms puddles in the street I am the star gazer the moon lover the incomplete I am work in progress completing the puzzle piece by piece What you see on the surface, is not always what is happening underneath I am a whirlwind of emotions, I have fought my own demons on the battle ground I’m my own worst enemy at times, but I’m no push around I am the girl who gets lost in the heavenly skies and is infatuated with butterflies I am more than even I see, for beauty lies in the sunrise and I need to start loving me.
yourself time to recharge, and your story time to develop.
… write ideas down when you have them! Your brain will tell you that you will remember things – it’s lying! … get a narrator program to read your work back to you. You can’t always trust your eyes as they are in cahoots with your brain. … enjoy what you do. Make research fun, keep smiling and keep writing. Thanks for reading, I hope to talk to you again soon.
APRIL 16, 2018
How Do You Invest In Yourself? By Kate Hames
consideration” When actually you’re thinking, “F**k off Susan! I don’t want to go on the Juice Plus diet or align my chakras! I want to eat 12 cupcakes and binge watch ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’”, And that is completely up to you, you don’t have to be constantly “on it”. Have a day off, hell have two! That’s not you giving in, that’s just you taking a break
“You can’t pour from an empty cup,” basically you need to fill the cup up to be able to pour from it. The same goes for you. If you’re emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually, spent then you have nothing left to give and this will leave you feeling deflated. This is why you need to take the time to invest in yourself. Fill that cup back up. This isn’t all about relaxing and meditation and being all zen and calm, this is also about doing things for yourself. Things that you enjoy, taking the time to have a life purely for yourself. There are literally hundreds, probably thousands of ways each individual person could invest in themselves, it all depends on what you enjoy doing or what you might need in your life at that moment. Investing in yourself basically means taking care of yourself, making yourself happy, if you’re not in a good place how do you expect to function in your family life, work life or social life? Sometimes you just have to think “f**k it” and be completely selfish. In order to do this right though you can’t have any guilty feelings about the investment, that’s not going to work. I went away for the weekend on my own about a month ago, I stayed in a nice hotel, I spent money on myself and I didn’t feel guilty about it for one second. I had an amazing time without any stress or worries, I used the time to rejuvenate myself, to fill that cup back up a little bit so that when life wangs a situation at you, you’re ready to handle it. Now, going away for the weekend on your own might not be possible for everyone, it might even fill some people with dread. That’s fine, your self investment can be anything that you enjoy doing. But it has to be done for you, nobody else. Don’t combine it with something else to accommodate another person, this investment time is for YOU. There will always be people around you giving you advice on how to invest in yourself, but not like I’m doing now they have things that have worked wonders for them and they’re only trying to do you a favour by keeping you motivated. Unfortunately sometimes we want to tell everyone to f**k off and that is fine, I wouldn’t advise actually telling them to f**k off but sometimes you just have to say, “Okay, thanks for that, I’ll certainly take it in to
The Art of Romance By Brandy M Miller
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The Power of a Writer The quote that Wilnona and Jade mentioned in their editorial remarks doesn’t come from me. It’s actually a quote from Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States. “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” It’s true. Poll after poll, survey after survey, shows that the more power and leadership responsibilities a person has, the more books they read. Warren Buffet, for example, spends 80% of his day reading and only 20% doing anything that other people would actually consider work. If we do sit down and analyze what that means, though, it means that a tremendous amount of responsibility for shaping the direction of not only this generation but every generation to follow falls on the shoulders of those who write. Ironically enough, while fiction tends to be treated as a lesser genre by most leaders, it is actually far more powerful than non-fiction in terms of shaping a person’s ideas and thoughts. Writing: The First Time-Travel Device Writing puts you in position to break through boundaries of time and space and even death to reach readers long after you are physically gone from this life time. After all, we are still reading the works of Confuscious, Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, and Moses. Each of those figures has been gone for multiple centuries. That hasn’t stopped them from influencing the thoughts and decisions of the people who read them. Through the written word, you can ask Jesus for his advice on a situation. You can sit down and learn to reason with Socrates and Aristotle. You can glean the wisdom of Confuscious and gain battle tactics from Tsung Zu. You aren’t limited to the minds of the people in your own time. You have access to anyone who took the time to put their thoughts down on paper or who had someone else to do that for them. You can also give advice to future and present generations. As I stated earlier, most people think that you can only offer people advice in non-fiction, but some of the greatest teachers I’ve had, the ones who have provided the greatest wisdom to me, are the writers of fiction. As we learn more and more about how the brain works, this makes sense. When you encounter a non-fiction book, you know that someone is trying to teach you something and you have your guard up. You are skeptical about their words and you are going to test them against what you know and believe to be true.
By Brandy M. Miller However, when you read fiction, your brain automatically suspends its native belief system and - if the writer has done his or her job - you experience the events in the narrative as if they are happening to you. Your subconscious mind simply absorbs this information without testing it or questioning it and will continue to do so until the book ends. Fiction and Memory Triggers When we’re presented with a bunch of information to process - like a sequence of numbers - the brain does its best to process that data based on things you already know and have experienced. What it doesn’t have time to process, it tosses in the mental equivalent of a junk drawer to be sorted later. This is true UNLESS the information coming into the brain is tied to a strong emotional event. Emotional events are hard coded into the brain’s operating system because the brain sees them as events that are essential to your survival. That’s why you can remember particularly heart-breaking moments in vivid detail no matter how many years between the event and the effort to recall them but you likely don’t remember half of what you learned in elementary school despite spending a great deal of your time in that environment. Because fictional events, especially the variety that evokes strong emotion in you, are treated as if they are actually happening to you by the brain, the brain hard codes the memory of those events into you. Memory and Belief Your brain is a giant supercomputer designed primarily for one purpose: keeping you alive. The purpose of your imagination is to help you stay 5-10 steps ahead of danger by allowing you to project potential outcomes and seize on opportunities based on information your brain has collected about the environment. Like all computers, that brain of yours needs an operating system to make sure things run smoothly without taking up too much of your processing power. That operating system is formed as events happen to you and your brain attempts to understand why the event happened by assigning a meaning to it. Those meanings, or little stories, come together to form the brain’s belief-based operating system. It is literally true that what you can’t believe you can’t achieve. In fact, what you can’t believe the brain won’t even allow you to consider as potentially true. It will just disgard the information wholesale. Unless it is presented in an emotion-driven story. Then, the brain suspends that operating system and allows this new data to be presented to it. That is what makes
fiction so powerful and those who write fiction even more so. Writing Is Your Superpower! If you ever wanted to be a superhero, welcome to being a writer. We are the hidden superheroes of the planet. We have the power to not only change the lives of our readers, but to change the entire course of human history. It is up to us to decide how we will use our power. Ironically, as much as some readers may hate the advice, “Show, don’t tell,” it is perhaps the single most important key to engaging the reader and getting them to change their thinking. It’s easy to lecture a 15 year old about why it might not be the best idea to drop out of high school and become a homeless bum. What’s much more effective is to give her a book and allow her to experience that life from the perspective of a main character. Allow her to feel the chill winds biting through the summer shorts she’s wearing because her winter clothes wouldn’t fit in a backpack and she doesn’t have the money to go to the store and buy them. Let her to experience the frustration and despair as she tries to apply for job after job but keeps getting told she needs to apply online, or gets told she needs to bathe, or even gets told she needs an address and a telephone number. What’s a girl to do? Those are the kinds of things that you can help people explore with your reading. You can literally show them the future outcome of a path they may be considering taking and, by doing so, why that’s not the best path to choose. You can also show them where the path you want them to take will lead and the advantages of that path. It’s a safe way to allow people the opportunity to examine consequences without having to take the risks ahead of time. Your characters have taken the risks for them. Use Your Power Wisely.. If you’ve ever watched the movie Spiderman, you know that the phrase, “With great power comes great responsibility” was probably stated more than 50 times in that movie. It became an internet meme at one point. It may have been a bit overstated, but that didn’t mean it was wrong. One person can change the entire course of human history. One person turned down a 19-year-old boy’s application to art school. Instead of becoming an artist in Vienna, he moved to Germany, went into politics, and became a supervillain. Adolf Hitler was the boy that got denied by the admissions director. I’m pretty sure he’s really wishing he hadn’t turned down that application right now.
One admissions director was the difference between World War II and no World War II. I’m not saying your writing impact is going to be equally dramatic, but I am saying you don’t have to change everyone’s life personally in order to change the entire course of human history. As long as you have a positive impact on the lives of the readers who are reading your books, I promise you that the world will change for the better because of it. Write Your Story Your story may seem boring to you, but I guarantee you that you have been through something your lifetime that someone else is either about to go through or is going through right now. They need your help and your advice to navigate those dark waters. If you aren’t comfortable sharing the real story, and a lot of us aren’t, wrap the truth in a metaphor or a myth. If you battle with chronic depression, turn that depression story into an epic story of a showdown with a dragon. Pour everything you feel about your depression into the description of how your character feels when confronting that dragon. If you battle with addictions and you’re ashamed of it, turn that story of addiction into a story of battling a vampire. Part of you knows that the vampire’s no good for you and will eventually destroy you, but part of you is all too easily seduced by its promises and keeps going back to it. The bottom line is that you can talk about real issues and real problems that people face in a way that is authentic and genuine without writing a memoir or a tell-all story. You can use your story as a springboard for emotionally driven fiction that makes an impact on the life of your readers without ostracizing the people you love or destroying your family. Write Naked. No, I don’t mean that you need to strip your clothes off while writing unless that just happens to be your thing. What I do mean is that when you sit down to write, let your guard down. Take off the masks. Be authentically and genuinely you. The more authentic and genuine that you can be with your readers, the more that they will open up to you and the more of an impact you’ll be able to have on them. Remember: In order to be loved for who you are, where you are, exactly as you are, you must first be honest about those things.
Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory: Chapter 1 By Brandy M. Miller
“It doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to play this game, you know. You don’t have to chase a phantom and I don’t have to love one. We don’t have to hurt one another.” His words made her angry. She turned to face him, suddenly furious with him, furious for his refusal to understand and for making this harder than it needed to be. “You think that, don’t you? You think I have a choice in the matter as if I can choose what I am? I can’t help who I am. Hurting people is what I do. That is why you are much better off without me. It is why I won’t stay. I don’t want to stay and see you die at my own hand.” He reached out a hand as if to pull her closer, and she jerked backward, bumping up against the window. He let the hand drop to his side and his eyes grew soft and sad. “Zhara, you are better than you give yourself credit for being. You don’t have to hurt people. You don’t have to be hurt. You can open up and let yourself be loved for once.” She shook her head and pushed past him. She suddenly felt afraid. She needed to leave. Now. “You don’t understand. You’ll never understand. I CAN’T! I CAN’T LOVE YOU! I don’t know what that is! I don’t know what it means!” She was out the door and down the hall before she said the final words. “I don’t know how to love you. I don’t know how to love anyone. I don’t know how to love.” She climbed on the back of her motorcycle, blinking away the tears that were threatening, not even bothering to put on her helmet. She didn’t want to be safe. She didn’t want to be secure. She didn’t deserve it. She gunned the engine and sped off into the night without looking back, heading straight into the mouth of hell. She was headed straight for Damien. ~~~~~ Damien’s dark eyes locked onto hers when she walked in the door. He didn’t say a word. He knew why she was there. Why waste words or breath talking about it? He stood up and crossed the room with a panther-like grace that sent a shiver down her spine. He was everything she knew she shouldn’t but couldn’t help herself but want. He didn’t ask permission or wait for her consent to kiss her. He wasn’t tender, polite, or gentle about it. She didn’t want him to be. Tenderness, politeness, and gentleness were not things she needed or deserved.
Zhara shrugged and stared out the window, refusing to meet John’s eyes. She was about to lie to him, and she didn’t want to see his face when she did. “I like men who know how to handle themselves in a fight. I like men who aren’t afraid to break the rules if the occasion calls for it. I like men who like to take risks. I suppose I do have a type. I suppose I do like the bad boy. The one who is the hardest to love, the one who is most likely to leave me.” John came up behind her and stood close enough that she could feel the waves of heat radiating from his body. She knew that if she wanted it all she had to do was rock backward a half an inch and she could be wrapped in his arms. She felt his breath on the back of her neck and closed her eyes. The temptation was there. It would be so easy to give into it. His question was soft and his words hit her heart hard. “And what about me? Am I your type?” She forced a laugh. Better to hurt him a little now than to watch him bleed for her later. “You? No. You’re much too safe. Much too ordinary. Much too easy to tame. I don’t think you could handle me. I’d crush your spirit and leave you broken.” It was a partial truth. She didn’t think he could handle her. Not the real her. She would never let him close enough to find out. He mattered too much. “Oh, really? Am I? Do you think I’m easy to tame? Do you think you know me so well?” She did know him. Maybe better than he knew himself. She knew he was kind and gentle and generous in a world that had no room for such things. She hardened herself, saying the words that she knew would go straight to that giant heart of his and pierce it straight through. It was the only way to protect him from her. “I know you better than you think I do. You love me already and I haven’t given you any reason to love me. I didn’t have to. You love everything about me, but most of all you love the fact that I won’t stay and you know it. I’ll never be yours, just as he won’t ever really be mine. You’ll yearn for me, for the fantasy you make of me, but you’ll never capture me. And that is what you find most intriguing of all. That is why you find yourself chasing after me though even you know you shouldn’t. I’m not any good for you.” His voice was even but she could hear the slight tone in it that betrayed how much he wanted her to change her mind. 32
She felt a surge of passion for him that left her breathless and eager for more. He was the drug she couldn’t get enough of even though she knew it was no good for her. She would hate herself in the morning but tonight she needed him, wanted him, and would allow him to have her in any way that he wanted her. They were halfway to the bedroom, clothes strewn across the floor, when John’s face broke through the fog of desire. John’s voice calling her name, begging her to reconsider, pleading with her not to leave. She froze in place, unable to move. Damien growled impatiently and swept her off her feet, carrying her into the bedroom and dumping her on the bed. She looked up at him and shook her head. “No. No more.” His face darkened and he scowled. “What are you playing at, Zhara?” Her face flushed and she suddenly found herself ashamed of her nakedness. She grabbed the sheet from the foot of the bed and covered herself with it. “I’m not playing at anything. I just…don’t want this. I’ve changed my mind.” Damien stared at her, his face inscrutable. “Who is he?” Her eyes widened and she looked away. “I don’t know what you mean.” Damien ripped the sheet out of her hands, exposing her. She covered herself with her hands as he leaned closer to her and hissed the question. “Who. Is. He?” Damien’s normally dark eyes were nearly black. His face was flushed red. Something clicked inside her head and a sudden realization came over her. “You – you’re jealous.” Damien pulled back as if she’d slapped him. She saw his jaw tighten and his hands flex. His eyes hardened and he stepped back from the bed. “Get. Out.” She felt a cold chill slide down the back of her spine. “Damien, I don’t…” He roared the words. “GET OUT!” She slid out of his bed and gathered up her clothes, doing her best to put them on as quickly as he was throwing them at her. “GET OUT!” She fled out the door and into the night, unsure of where to go. She couldn’t face John, not after everything she’d done to him, and it was clear that Damien didn’t want her there. Where was there to go when you weren’t good enough for Heaven but Hell had just kicked you out? She checked her phone. It was 11 at night. Purga-
tory wouldn’t close for another couple of hours at least, and she needed a drink. Maybe more than one.
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By Brandy M. Miller
I am the Phoenix I was born in flame and ashes I will rebuild the world that everyone else trashes You’ve got the matches, you’ve got the flame You can light my world on fire but I will rise again If hurting me is all that you intend to do Let me warn you that pain is nothing new Yes, you can hurt me, but you’re not the only one There’s nothing you can do that hasn’t been done I am the Phoenix I was born in flame and ashes I will rebuild the world that everyone else trashes You’ve got the matches, you’ve got the flame You can light my world on fire but I will rise again You made the game and you made the rules I played my part but I refuse to stay a fool You can break my heart, but you can’t break me I’m rising up, I’m reaching out, I’m soaring free I am the Phoenix rising from the flame and ashes I will rebuild the world while everyone else clashes You’ve got the matches, you’ve got the flame You can light this world on fire but I will rise again. 33
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